A Sketch of Happiness
A person is said to be happy when he demonstrates the ability to synthesize information in what Einstein captured nicely in the phrase “combinatory play”. The being of self-assurance and the ability to take risks. In some respects happiness is subversive, since it disrupts existing patterns of thought and being.
Joseph Schumpeter, the great economist described it as the “perennial gale of creative destruction” as the very essence of capitalism:
In capitalist reality, as distinguished from its textbook picture, it is not [price] competition which counts but the competition from the new commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply, the new type of organization… competition which commands a decisive cost of quality advantage and which strikes not at the margins of the profits and output of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives
Economists, physicists, and historians alike realize that there is a deep difference between homo economicus and homo happytius. One makes the most of claims that nature permits him to have – determined and lock-end. The other rebels against nature’s dictates. A being that flourishes best in a unique kind of social environment of thriving: one that is stable enough to allow continuity of effort, yet diverse and broad-minded enough to nourish in being creative in all its subversive displays. The penultimate issue, perhaps, with the emergence of happiness is the tension it stirs up. For the simple reason it disrupts, and by its very nature, being institutionally weak, needs to stand over against that its Being disrupts – Fear.
Richard Florida “The Rise of the Creative Class: And How it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, Basic Books.
Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, p 84.